A Life Lesson
After seventy-four successfully flight missions over enemy territory, Navy pilot, Captain Charlie Plumb, flew his seventy-fifth mission with only a little time left in Vietnam. He was shot down over Hanoi, ejected from his plane, and landed safely in enemy territory. Unfortunately, he was captured and served more than two-thousand days as a prisoner of war. Years later, he was having dinner with his wife when he was approached by a man.
“You’re Captain Charlie Plumb!” the man said. “I’m the man who packed your parachute…”
Think about that for a minute. Somewhere, below deck, out of sight, was another man attentively packing each and every parachute for what could’ve been Captain Plumb’s final mission.
As we walk through life as Christians, I think there are two key necessities we need to consider. First, who is packing my spiritual parachute for me? Who have I asked to pray for me and my family? More importantly, are they doing it? Stay in constant contact with these people. These should be people close to you, invested and always checking on you. I’ve learned it is impossible to pray earnestly for someone and walk away haplessly forgetting them. The people I invest time and prayer into linger in the forefront of my mind often, which ties us together more intricately, and prompts me to pray for them even more. Prayer leads to passion –passionate friendships and marriages. In short, if they’re not following up with you or excited to speak with you regularly, they may not be packing your parachute correctly…or at all.
With those truths in mind, the next question we need to ask is whose parachute am I packing? If we do not have an answer to either of these, I think we should reevaluate what we are doing as Christians. Invest in others. Pray for people. Start with your spouse, children, and closest friends. Those are easy. If you already do that, choose someone else’s parachute to pack. Consider those people you don’t like. Yeah, I know, I know, but soon you’ll find yourself seeing things from their perspectives a bit more. In the meantime, keep this nugget of wisdom in mind. Life and death is in the power of your tongue (Prov.18:21). Pray for people, not about them; their well-being, not their come-up-ins. Pray for them in the same manner you would want them to pray for you (Jn.13:34-35). Forgive them of their sins and pray God will do the same also (Jn.20:23; Mt.6:14-15).
“Satan dreads nothing but prayer. His one concern is to keep the saints from praying. He fears nothing from prayerless studies, prayerless work, prayerless religion. He laughs at our toil, he mocks our wisdom, but he trembles when we pray.”
– Samuel Chadwick, The Path of Prayer